Pituitary and interrenal function in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata L., Teleostei) after handling and confinement stress

J. Rotllant, P. H.M. Balm, J. Pérez-Sánchez, S. E. Wendelaar-Bonga, L. Tort

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    Dynamics of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), α melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), N-acetylated-β-endorphin (N-ac-β-END), cortisol, and growth hormone (GH) were investigated in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) stressed by handling plus confinement. As indices of the secondary stress response, plasma levels of glucose, lactate, and plasma ions were monitored. Within 1 h, plasma cortisol and ACTH levels increased above the control values but GH levels decreased. Subsequently, at 24 h cortisol and ACTH levels had declined, but were still higher than in controls, whereas GH levels had recovered after 4 h. Regarding the melanotrope peptides, there were no differences in plasma levels of α-MSH and N-ac-β-END, but pituitary stores of these peptides were severely depleted already after 1 h, as were ACTH stores. Pituitary contents of proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived hormones did not show significant differences from 72 h onward. Therefore, the results indicate that both handling and confinement affected the corticotropes of the pars distalis and the melanotropes of the neurointermediate lobe but at different magnitudes. The possible involvement of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the regulation of pituitary POMC-producing cell types under these conditions was indicated by the in vitro dose-dependent effect of the peptide on release of ACTH, α-MSH, and N-ac-β-END. The corticocotropes appeared more responsive, and approximately 10-fold more sensitive, to CRH compared with the melanotropes. The ACTH-releasing potency of 1 nM CRH was inhibited 75% following pretreatment of the whole pituitary gland with 400 nM of the CRH antagonist α-helical CRH9-41. © 2001 Academic Press.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-342
    JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


    • Adrenocorticotropin
    • Corticotropin-releasing hormone
    • Cortisol
    • Gilthead sea bream
    • Growth hormone
    • Head kidney
    • N-acetylated β-endorphin
    • Pituitary stress
    • α melanocyte-stimulating hormone
    • α-helical corticotropin-releasing hormone (9-41)


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